Author Spotlight

 

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing a wonderful author, who took time out of her busy schedule to chat with us.  So, without further delay let’s hear from

Anastasia Rabiyah

Was writing always a dream for you?  Did you have plans to be anything else?
Writing was not always a dream for me. Since kindergarten I knew I wanted to grow up to be a farmer and an artist. However, I began writing my first story when I was eleven years old. I kept telling the boy across the street that one day I’d have a huge fantasy book published. Strange enough, it’s true now. Stranger still, it’s based on that first fantasy world I created as a child.

I used to spend hours plotting, drawing out maps of the realm, imagining political and religious turmoil which caused a huge war. The first novel I wrote was about a young man who left home to seek his fortune. It’s been rewritten completely about three times now and it’s still not done.

My first published fantasy tale from that world is Shahzar Warrior Queen, book one in a four part series available at Forbidden Publications. Shahzar is the mother of the character from my first novel which I do hope to publish sometime next year. 

My plans of becoming an artist and a farmer are still part of who I am. I garden quite a bit in my backyard. I paint, draw and also love to design the cover art for my novels.

Do you have a “real life” job or are you able to focus completely on your writing?
My real life job is taking care of the accounting for the family business—a local Greek restaurant. I do payroll, sales reports, marketing, website management, and design any forms needed to operate such as menus, flyers and signs.

Because I complete most of my restaurant duties at home, where I also care for my three young sons, I am able to focus on my writing more than people who have to go to a day job.

How does the writing process work for you?  Do you plan your stories out or do they come to you as you write?
For my stories to get to the end, I have to have a strong character, a muse with a story to be told. It begins by this muse either appearing to me in scenes or, in the case of Shahzar, harassing me at all hours until I pen her words.

More recently I envision a beginning chapter and I see the main character as was the case with vampire work I have contracted with Dark Eden Press—I saw this man standing barefoot on the lawn In the Moon’s Light. I had to find out who he was and why he stood there watching the full moon. With my erotic romance at loveyoudivine, Rope, I saw the main character stomping through a guest ranch angry at the world and put off by men in general due to her recent divorce until…she sees Garrett.

Once I have the beginning, if the muse doesn’t sneak off to eat my chocolates, the story grows on from there. I’ve tried to outline but find I always deviate from it. In fact, outlining seemed to slow me down because I’m always too concerned about following my plan.

Tell us about Anastasia and what makes her tick.
I am plagued by my creativity. Only just now is my husband beginning to accept this side of who I am. I have uncontrollable urges to make things…from pastel angels to herb gardens to erotic romance novels. Sometimes my creativity is cyclic lasting a few days. At other times it goes on longer. By and far, the writing has stuck the longest.

I love chocolate and my family. My children make me happy and keep me silly and young at heart. I hate housework but in a home full of men—messy men—I’m the one stuck doing the clean-up.

You write in several genres. Do you have a favorite and why is that your favorite?  Do you have a genre that you would like to try?
My favorite genre is fantasy. I think it’s my favorite because I grew up on Excalibur, Time Bandits and Disney. As a young girl I was fascinated with knights and magic. I love dragons, unicorns and any mythical creature—especially the ugly ones like trolls. I read Anne McCaffrey’s dragonrider books way too many times.

If I get this erotica bug to slow down on biting me, I’d like to try horror. I loved Stephen King as a young woman and also Anne Rice. Now that I’ve gotten into erotic romance, it’ll be difficult not to let some of that style slip in.

I read that you are part of a critique group. Do you find this to be helpful to your writing?  What are the benefits?
I would never have finished writing Shahzar if not for my online critique group. The authors there, both aspiring and published, have kept me from headpopping, adverbitis and plot flaws. They slap me around if my scenes or characters aren’t real enough.

Yes it’s helpful and the major benefit is that they catch my goofs. The more eyes proofing and honestly critiquing a work, the stronger it becomes.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read your work before you post it anywhere. Know grammar and point-of-view and understand how to use it to your benefit. Never become a Diva. It helps no one—least of all you. Be humble, able to take constructive criticism and most of all, have fun writing.

Do you enjoy hearing from your readers and what is the best way to contact you?
I love to hear from my readers!

They can find me at my website: http://RabiyahBooks.com and also on MySpace at: http://MySpace.com/AnastasiaRabiyah.

Tell us some of your favorites: foods, movies, authors, books, movies, holiday, and any other favorites.
Favorite foods: gyro and fries or Greek salad. I love chocolate mmm Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Movies: Excalibur, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Tristan and Isolde, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Departed, Monty Python’s The Holy Grail, Interview with the Vampire.

Authors: Anne Rice, Stephen King and J.K. Rowling but I have to admit I haven’t been able to read a print book all the way through in quite a while because of my writing, my critiquing and also all the editing I do.

What would a perfect day for you involve?
Selfish perfect day would be me, my laptop, the library with wireless net, an endless iced mocha and muses with great stories.

Paranormal aspects fill your stories, do you believe in the paranormal?
I believe in ghosts. That’s about it. I feel we have souls and sometimes after our loved ones pass on, they have to come back and tell us important things they didn’t get to in life. Too bad we don’t know what the heck they’re trying to say or why. (Sorry Grandma.)

Writing romance, do you believe in happily ever after?  Have you found yours?
Happily ever after sounds great but the reality is any relationship is a lot of work and compromise. That’s the truth. I’m married and have been since 1995. We’ve been together since 1991. I can’t see myself with anyone else, so yes, I’ve found mine.

When writing romance, I know the genre rules ask for HEA, but sometimes I think that’s unreasonable. Happy for now endings are great. Endings that feel like a new beginning are a good thing—one of my favorites. All in all it’s the entire story and its impact on readers that really matters.

Do you have a favorite character and if so, why are they your favorite?
My favorite character is Shahzar because she’s a strong-willed woman who does what she wants, when she wants, for reasons she believes in—right or wrong. I admire that. Probably not good traits all the time though.

Are your friends and family your biggest supporters and do they read your work?
The biggest supporters of my work are the authors in my critique group: Dawne’ Dominique, Cynthia Moore, S.D. Grady, Carol McKenzie and many others. I think only another author can really understand the insanity of creating a story. Non-creative people just nod and smile. They don’t ‘get it’ and they never will.

My husband supports me as best he can. I would not be able to write without his acceptance, but he really just does not get it!

My mother and father support me with their encouragement although I think they were shocked about the erotic romance genre choice. Still, they tell their friends all about my writing and pass out bookmarks at work.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Only that in October I had two demon erotic romances released. The Noonday Demon from Amira Press and Demon in the Basement from Forbidden Publications. Both were a lot of fun to write. I hope readers will stop by my site and check them out.

And my best advice to anyone: Follow your dreams!

 

     

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